The chasm you’ve felt in your chest for the past three editions of “Monday Night Football” is no more.
After a three-week hiatus, the “Manningcast” – the game’s alternative broadcast on ESPN2 featuring Peyton and Eli Manning – returns Monday as the Seattle Seahawks host the New Orleans Saints.
The “Manningcast” debuted this year to mostly rave reviews and created memorable moments – hurling insults at each other, revealing interviews with celebrity guests, flipping double-birds – through the first three broadcasts of the season.
Now that they are back, here’s what you may have missed from the brothers thus far, and what to expect this Monday.
Marshawn Lynch, Tom Brady, Sue Bird to join Manning broadcast
The Mannings return with another star-studded lineup for this week’s show. The first guest will be former Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, followed by Tom Brady.
After halftime, Sue Bird will join the show before Drew Brees, the ex-Saints quarterback, helps them close the program.
Top moments from Peyton, Eli Manning
Where to begin? There is Eli throwing up dueling middle-fingers on live television thinking that the production crew could somehow edit it out.
And Eli doing the “Dak dance.”
And Eli breaking down the time he snuck into a bar while underage.
Peyton, barking play calls to an empty room, was very extra during the first quarter of the first broadcast.
Then he tried to put on a helmet
Pat McAfee told a story about Peyton and an all-time roulette spin. Rob Gronkowski joked about never watching film. Charles Barkley lamented his gambling losses.
Through all of the comedy, the two use their nearly four decades of combined quarterbacking experience to take the viewers inside the huddle and a QB’s thought process.
‘Manningcast’ reaches millions of viewers
The alternative telecast has been a ratings success for ESPN. Between Week 1 (800,000 viewers) and Week 2, the viewership more than doubled to 1.9 million watchers. The number held at 1.9 million during the Week 3 Eagles-Cowboys broadcast.
The traditional broadcast on ESPN still draws much higher; for example, 11.9 million people tuned into the Steve Levy-Louis Riddick-Brian Griese call during Week 2.
How the Manning broadcast came to be
ESPN tried for years to bring Peyton on as its color commentator for the traditional broadcast to no avail. The more relaxed format, filmed remotely with his brother on the other side of the feed — and a 10-week commitment, rather than the entire season – made this format a reality.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.